Only in China: Prisoners used in online gaming ring

online-gamingWe’re 100 percent certain that at least some of you have purposefully locked yourself in a small room filled with nothing but a computer just to submit yourselves to tortuously long gaming binges. Come to think of it, some of you are probably doing that right now. (Haven’t we all?) But there’s a big difference between a self-imposed gaming marathon, and one forced upon you by greedy prison guards at a Chinese “reeducation-through-labor” camp. One man, who goes by Liu Dali, found that out the hard way.

Sent to the Jixi labour camp in north-east China, Liu spent his days slaving away in the camp’s coal mines doing back breaking labor, whittling “chopsticks and toothpicks out of planks of wood until his hands were raw,” and other such soul-crushing activities, reports the Guardian. That was the first part of the day. The next 12 hours Liu and his fellow inmates were forced to play online video games on behalf of the prison guards in order to earn money and points.

“Prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour,” Liu, who was imprisoned for “illegally petitioning” the central government about corruption in his hometown, told the Guardian. “There were 300 prisoners forced to play games. We worked 12-hour shifts in the camp. I heard them say they could earn 5,000-6,000rmb [$670-930] a day. We didn’t see any of the money. The computers were never turned off.”

If Liu or other inmates failed to satisfy the demands of the prison bosses, they would be savagely beaten. “They would make me stand with my hands raised in the air and after I returned to my dormitory they would beat me with plastic pipes. We kept playing until we could barely see things,” he said.

The practice of building up online credits through repetitive tasks in online games, like World of Warcraft, is known as “gold farming.” Gamers are willing to pay big bucks for these online credits, which help them progress in the games. This virtual black market has become a problem in China, where roughly $2 billion digitally exchanged hands in 2008, and has presumably only risen since that time.

Approximately 80 percent of all gold farmers reside in China, and the country is thought to have about 100,000 full-time gold farmers. China’s government has issued new laws to make it illegal for businesses to trade fictional currencies, but Liu guesses that the problem in the prisons continues still.

LAN party, anyone?

(Image via)


‘Kingdom Hearts III’ out in the wild, director asks for support to stop spoilers

Kingdom Hearts III has been leaked, with several copies of the game out in the wild. The game's director, Tetsuya Nomura, responded to the situation, calling for help from gamers to stop spoilers from spreading online.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Killing Eve'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

Out of movies to binge? Our staff picks the best flicks on Hulu right now

From classics to blockbusters, Hulu offers some great films to its subscribers. Check out the best movies on Hulu, whether you're into charming adventure tales or gruesome horror stories.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Twilight Zone’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

The DualShock 4 is one of the best controllers ever, and you can use it with a PC

Sony's new DualShock 4 controller has become a fan favorite, and some people want to use it with a PC. Here's how to connect your DualShock 4 and start using it, either with an official adapter, or unofficial software.

The history of Battle Royale: From mod to worldwide phenomenon

Battle royale games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds’ and Fortnite have become the biggest trend in video games. The genre is also pushing the envelope in streaming and eSports in a way that might hint at the future of the industry.

Project Stream testers get to keep a free copy of ‘Assassin’s Creed Odyssey’

Those who participated in Google's technical test of Project Stream won't be able to access the service to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey after January 15, but they'll get to keep the game on PC anyway.

Newest ‘Destiny 2’ raid already completed by two-person team

The latest raid in Destiny 2: Forsaken is Scourge of the Past, and a two-person team has already managed to complete it. The task took 15 hours of trial-and-error effort before the duo managed to take down the final boss.

The 25 best SNES games

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games, including A Link to the Past and Chrono Trigger.

Need a discounted Xbox bundle by Christmas? Walmart has you covered

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have both come and gone, but you can still save some cash on a new Xbox One bundle at Walmart. Both the Xbox One S and the Xbox One X are on sale now.

With our Steam guide, you can give the gift of gaming this holiday season

The holidays may have passed, but it's always a good time to give the gift of gaming (especially when there's a Steam sale)! Here's our quick guide on how to give a Steam game as a gift.

‘Fortnite’ update 7.10 brings a rotating selection of modes big and small

The latest update for Fortnite introduces 14 Days of Fortnite, an event that brings back large and small battle royale modes as well as brand new ones to enjoy during the holiday season.

New Xbox consoles are reportedly code-named ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Lockhart’

Microsoft's next-generation Xbox plans reportedly consist of two separate consoles. One, called "Lockhart," is a more affordable machine, while "Anaconda" is designed with more horsepower.